Parkinson and behavioral issues (long-sorry)

rosealeeJune 22, 2007


I am a part time caretaker for a 78 year old male parkinson patient. He also has a fair case of dementia. He does not get on my nerves with his constant forgetfulness or telling the same story over and over. The other lady I work with is getting a little more weary, I think, maybe.

Problem is this other caretaker that he is with during 4 days and nites of the week(I work 3 days and nites) calls me constantly about his behavioral problems that she is having with him. For instance, picking up unseen things on the carpet, talking to his deceased wife and turning the t.v. on and off, wanting to change his clothing many times daily, yelling at her, and other behaviors as well. I have seen slight picking at his pillow when I put him to bed at nite, but it stops. When he gets anxious I either try to distract him or sit by him and stroke his hand or massage his back. I also will take him on a ride in the car which he likes. He is on medication for parkinson as well as xanax, paxil and seroquil, low doses of each. I personally have never had to give him a seroquil but the other caretaker has had to give him the seroquil alot.

When she calls and tells me of these behaviors I suggest some of the things above and she dismisses them and tells me that she has been with him alot longer than I have and I am not with him as much as she. Also, she is a retired RN, and more qualified than I. (she retired at 52) I am only a LPN.(This is a second career for me and I have only had my LPN lic. for 5 years) (she is with him 4 days and nites and I am with him 3)

I do not understand what is going on. He does FINE when I am with him except for maybe asking over and over what day it is or something like that. I just tell him and he is o.k.

Why is he acting like that with her? I have just had to do 2 weeks back to back because she could not cope with his behaviors. Everything went fine during those 2 weeks, we went to see his sister, I took him to get a massage, out to eat, and over to his brothers house, so you know if he had had those behaviors she is describing I could not have done all our activities. What in the heck is going on with him and her? I have been told, by his son, he was hard to get along with before she and I came as caretakers. I am wondering when I am going to get the same treatment as her. I care for him very much, and am committed to the quality of his life. By the way, parkinson is in the early/mid stages.

He is really sweet, and I just love him. I have been his caretaker for about a year now, and she has been with him for over two. I am at a quandry.. Any ideas? This has just recently started happening in the last 2 months. I just got a call yesterday and I have got to do another week, as she feels she cannot cope AGAIN. Any ideas out there? I called his Dr. and his psych. Dr. today for an appointment tomorrow so when I relieve her I can help him find out what is going on. Has anyone else (that is a caretaker) or has anyone out there heard of these kind of behaviors in an older person?? Thanks.

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It's not his behaviors, it is the other caretaker's inability to cope. She may have trouble coping with other things as well. My guess is that she's ready to quit. Or she *should* quit. She's simply not cut out for the job, and you are doing magnificently.

Everyone handles stress differently, and she simply doesn't handle things well.

But in your situation, I think I'd be stern about not taking calls from her on YOUR time off. That isn't fair to you at all.

You are doing a wonderful job, and your client is fine with you. As long as you think that there are no health/safety/abuse issues when the other caretaker is with him, don't worry. It sounds like her problem, not the patient.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 9:01AM
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That was the first thing that I thought of too. She might be looking for an excuse to quit. The way she figures, if his behavior is bad, it's not HER fault. It's his.

Then it could be that for some reason she makes him uneasy, and the behavior stems from that. Maybe it's the sound of her voice or that she putters around too much, maybe walks back and forth in front of the TV. Who knows??? It's one of those things that you will probably never figure out, but his doctor does need to be aware that there MIGHT be something changing.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 10:26AM
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There may be things going on that you are not aware of. You probably treat him like a child, without him being aware of it. Your calming nature is soothing, while the other caretaker may be frustrated because she/he is not in charge and she may be resentful because as a RN she is not in charge--or whatever. Please talk to the Dr's, relatives to solve the problem. You don't want to end up being involved with a elder abuse situation. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 9:59PM
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My husband's behavior (has parkinsons and dementia) can vary according to which sitter is on duty. Several of them seem to agitate him. I havent seen them do anything in particular, maybe its their voice, or mannerisms. The ones he relaxes with treat him like my daughter and I do. We generally have no problems with him.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 12:17PM
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First thing that came to mind, was that maybe he just doesn't like the other caregiver! Could be as simple as that!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 1:27PM
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mariend wrote: "Please talk to the Dr's, relatives to solve the problem. You don't want to end up being involved with a elder abuse situation."

Well put.

If this RN is such an"expert" caretaker, why is she calling you? This woman shouldn't be bothering you on your day off.

If this were me, I'd be documenting each call and what is discussed. If any questions are ever raised about his care, you will want to be sure your back is covered in case she tries to make you look bad.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 3:54PM
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rosealee- you sound like a fabulous caretaker who understands their patients issues and has the patience to deal with him. You treat him kindly and look for things that soothe him and make him happy.
The other one sounds like they are burnt out and need a break or a new career. They probably are just there putting in time for a paycheck and can't be bothered to go that extra mile that you seem so good at.

He's lucky to have you!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 11:45AM
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My husband was in a care home for 9 months before he died and I heard the same thing during those months. Some people could handle him with others it was a battle. The ones who had no problem with him, got down to eye level, rubbed his arm or held his hand and explained what she/he wanted to do for him. Most of the time he let them, if he didn't they would come back in 5 minutes and ask him again. He usually cooperated then. I always smile when I heard that because.....that's my husband, if it wasn't his idea, he didn't like it.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 7:59PM
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